What in the heck are all those round "holes", "ports", or whatever they are, seen in the fuse side windows of a C-47? Anybody here know? Don't tell me they where "puke ports" for nervous paratroopers on D-Day. : )
I am modeling the Top Flight DC-3 as a C-47. I would like to get a few details right.
Seriously, were they really just vents? It seems that in WWII the windows had these small circles in the center of them, but post war variants no longer had them. I suspected vents, but why did the civilian DC-3 of the pre-war era not have them, while the war time production of C-47 include them, then switch back after the war?
The pictures in the Squadron book are very helpful, except explaining the detail seen in the windows. They look to be more substantial than a vent, but rather unpractical for a gun port. I would think some idiot could shoot a fuel tank in the wing easily enough. Page 47 of my copy has a Soviet Li-2 in the upper left hand corner. Did you get the page wrong?
I built a plastic model before starting the Top Flight kit. There is a wealth of surface detail on a quality 1:48 scale model. They also did a good job of surface stencils marking inspection plates, etc. The molded side windows had very prominent circles in the center, which makes me wonder exactly their function.
I will post a photo at alt.binaries.radio-control of an interior shot showing the "ports". I got it off an internet search. They are quite thick with black rings. My best guess is a vent, but I can't imagine Uncle Sam being that concerned about comfort control at every seat.
I just remembered that one of the guys in our club was in the 101st during WWII. He would know!
Everyone who guessed (or knew) the holes in the windows were gun ports gets an "A+".
I have gotten confirmation from two reliable sources on the subject. The best source was a person who was in a C-47 over Europe several times during WWII. He had several trips where he departed the aircraft before it landed. He said the gun ports were always open to the outside air, and the rear door was removed during drops. The holes in the windows didn't matter as the draft from the missing door kept plenty of air moving through the whole compartment anyway.